Fenech told police still do not have Caruana Galizia laptop in their possession

Request by Yorgen Fenech lawyers for laptop belonging to Daphne Caruana Galizia cannot be executed

Daphne Caruana Galizia
Daphne Caruana Galizia

A request by Caruana Galizia murder suspect and alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech for the court to make available to his defence the contents of the late journalist’s laptop, has been refused because the police have been unable to secure the hard-drive.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello said in her decision that the electronic devices requested by Fenech’s defence were effectively not available, because the police’s two requests to the inquiring magistrate for the devices to be preserved in the assassination inquiry, was never carried out.

Montebello said that the reply of the Commissioner of Police to this request suggests that this inability to secure the Caruana Galizia laptop, was not attributable to the police force itself.

Montebello said that should the laptop be traced and handed to the police, the Court should be duly informed.

Fenech’s lawyers insist that the laptops and hard drives contain important evidence that would prove his innocence, by contradicting evidence by star prosecution witness Melvin Theuma.

Theuma has told the coutrs that Fenech had commissioned him to find someone to get rid of Caruana Galizia because she was about to publish a story about his uncle. Also in his interrogation with lead investigator Keith Arnaud, Theuma had categorically claimed that Fenech first tasked him to engage the Degiorgios to carry out the murder, a fortnight after the 2017 election, over some information Caruana Galizia would have published on his uncle, Ray Fenech. Theuma however also added that he later surmised, through Fenech’s own insistence, that the information Caruana Galizia was about to release concerned Yorgen Fenech himself.

But the defence claims the laptops and hard drives belonging to the victim are of great importance to prove Fenech’s innocence as well as to contrast it with that testified by Melvin Theuma.

Theuma, who testified at length in several proceedings related to the murder, has on occasion been criticised by the court for his convoluted and contradictory explanations.

The application, which was signed by lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran, Marion Camilleri and Charles Mercieca, argued that the Police had the obligation to gather and preserve all the evidence related to the murder, both in favour and against the accused. “This must include two laptops and three hard drives used by the victim at the time of the murder.”

The devices had been transported to Germany for safekeeping in the aftermath of the murder, and the German authorities had subsequently refused to hand them over to their Maltese counterparts. 

The Constitutional court, in its judgement in the case of Alfred Degiorgio vs The Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General from December 2019, had directed that this evidence must be requested during the compilation of evidence before the compiling magistrate, said the lawyers, asking the court to order this be done.